Officers warned fugitive would likely shoot

About a week ago, Las Vegas patrol officers were warned in briefing rooms: If you encounter Javier Reyes, he will shoot you. He will not go back to prison.

“And that’s exactly what he did,” one patrol officer said.

Reyes, 32, died after a shootout with an FBI agent working with a fugitive task force. Reyes had been on the run for the past two months.

The agent, whose name was not released, was shot by Reyes but not badly hurt. He had been wearing a protective vest and was released from the hospital by Wednesday morning, the FBI said.

A spokeswoman said the agent’s name could not be released without approval from FBI headquarters in Washington.

Police had been looking for Reyes since Dec. 29, when he was accused of hitting his ex-girlfriend, threatening her with a handgun and robbing her.

Reyes ran from the home before officers arrived.

That wasn’t his only encounter with his former girlfriend. She told police Reyes attacked her on Jan. 23 outside a different residence and choked her for more than 30 seconds.

She had moved to the new home to avoid Reyes, according to a police report.

The brutality of the attacks was enough for the valley’s Criminal Apprehension Team to get involved. The task force, which includes officers from Las Vegas police, Henderson police and the FBI, tracks down the valley’s most dangerous fugitives.

Detectives with the team located Reyes on Feb. 7 in the 10000 block of Delray Beach Avenue but were unable to make an arrest.

He outran officers and broke into the nearby home of an elderly couple.

Reyes was able to escape by holding a 73-year-old man at gunpoint and stealing his car, a police report said.

Tuesday’s encounter with Reyes began the same way for officers, with a foot pursuit, this time near Charleston and Nellis boulevards.

Few details have been released about the event, but authorities said it ended with the gunbattle between Reyes and the FBI agent.

Reyes was badly wounded and died at University Medical Center several hours later.

The episodes of rage were not unknown to Reyes, said cousin Fabiola Sanchez, 32, of Los Angeles.

Sanchez and Reyes grew up together in California. For most of her life, she believed Reyes was her brother.

Sanchez said she learned the truth when Reyes, at 14, moved to Las Vegas with his birth mother.

Sanchez didn’t know all the details behind the move, but she said it was hard on her family.

“I was devastated when they took him away,” Sanchez said Wednesday.

She said Reyes had been in therapy and had taken medication for his rage from a very early age, but that changed when he moved to Las Vegas.

She believes her cousin lost focus, struggled to make money and dated women who weren’t good for him. He lost interest in work and school and stopped seeking treatment for his anger.

“Everybody (in Las Vegas) thought, ‘Oh, he’s crazy. I don’t want him here. Send him back,’u2009” Sanchez said.

She said Reyes, who was born in Nicaragua, had lost his legal residency after a prison stint from 2006 to 2007 for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

It’s unclear how much time Reyes served, but he was afraid of returning to prison or being deported, Sanchez said.

She downplayed his recent contact with police.

“He had a lot of problems, but they (police) make him seem like an unbelievable criminal,” she said.

Sanchez said the family learned of Reyes’ death when they saw a photo of him on an ambulance gurney in Wednesday’s Review-Journal.

The family is preparing for Reyes’ funeral as Sanchez wonders what could have been.

“When I look at his whole life, I just know had he stayed with us he would have been a different person,” she said.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@ or 702-383-0283.

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